People Cabinet Member – Minutes – 4 July 2012

5   (5) ADOPTION SERVICE SIX MONTHLY BUSINESS REPORT OCTOBER 2011 – MARCH 2012 The   Director of People submitted a report providing details of a business report summarising the work of the Adoption Service between 1 October 2011 and 31 March 2012.

The Adoption Service operated under the regulatory framework of The Adoption and Children Act 2002, The Adoption Agency Regulations 2005 and the National Minimum Standards 2011 (Adoption) which came into force in April 2011. The service was inspected by Ofsted under these standards every three years. The last statutory inspection of service took place in June 2009 with the outcome of the inspection being very positive with the service receiving a rating of ‘Good’ with no requirements or recommendations.

There was an expectation within the regulatory framework that a business report be presented to the Cabinet Member for information, and the new National Minimum Standards required this report to be provided every six months.

The report identified that the service was selected to be included in Ofsted’s programme of pilot inspections. The pilot inspection took place and the view taken by inspectors was that the Adoption Service was providing a good service, with some aspects close to outstanding.  It was explained that this view did not constitute a formal grading, and a full Ofsted inspection of the service would be undertaken at a later date.

Details of progress made within the service were outlined within the report.

Resolved – (a) That the report be noted, and (b) that the Cabinet Member supports the continued development of the work in adoption in North Lincolnshire.

6          (6)  REVIEW OF JOINT ARRANGEMENTS FOR EDUCATION SUPPORT SERVICES TO CHILDREN WITH SENSORY IMPAIRMENT AND PHYSICAL DISABILITY – The Director of People submitted a report on the current agreement and arrangements in relation to the above service between North Lincolnshire, East Riding, Hull and North East Lincolnshire councils and on a proposal to withdraw by mutual consent from the Joint Arrangement for the delivery of education support services for hearing impairment, visual impairment and physical disability to be noted.  The report sought approval to initiate a consultation on the future organisation of education support services and noted the requirement for a further report following the consultation.

The report outlined that the joint arrangement between the four authorities had been under review since March 2011.  There had been regular meetings of officers from each local authority including lead officers for the joint arrangements, Legal Services and Human Resources. The outcome of these meetings was that all four local authorities were in agreement that the arrangements were no longer fit for purpose and should be disbanded in favour of a less restrictive model of service delivery.

Each local authority had been working to develop ideas for new, possible service models, structures and partnership arrangements.  The key guiding principles included:

  • ·         providing the best possible educational outcomes for children and young people who needed this specialist support
  • ·         ensuring that service capacity was responsive to locally identified need and  that service delivery was responsive to the specific needs of users
  • ·         improving systems of governance and accountability delivering improved value for money

Officers from each local authority were in the process of finalising proposals for service provision and for possible staffing structures, based on the points detailed above.  These proposals would be used as part of the consultation process if the recommendations in this current report were approved.  The proposed consultation period would commence in July 2012.

Option 1 within the report identified that plans were being worked on for a proposed new service model to be drawn up within the financial envelope of the annual budget for this service area which was funded from the Dedicated Schools Grant.

Resolved – That option one as detailed within the report be approved.

7          (7)  HOME TO SCHOOL TRANSPORT POLICY FOR PUPILS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS REVIEW –  The Director of People submitted a report which sought approval to consult on proposed changes to the home to school transport policy for pupils with special educational needs.

It was explained that there were two home to school transport policies.  One was for pupils who had statements of special needs and required extra support to get to school, and the other was for pupils who did not normally need additional support. This report related to the former policy.

At 1 April 2012 the Local Authority transported 375 pupils with special needs aged up to 16 on specialist transport to special and mainstream schools in and outside North Lincolnshire.  The Cabinet Member was advised that although there had been no major changes to the legislation relating to home to school transport since 2006, it was deemed appropriate to periodically review the policy in order to reflect how the policy was being implemented and to document how the needs of the service users would be met.

Details of the proposed revised policy were outlined within the appendix to the report.

Resolved – That option one as detailed within the report be approved.

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Where there is no report this is because it is exempt, as it contains information which is considered to be of a confidential nature, as detailed in the Local Government (Access to Information) Act.